It had to be a coincidence that resulted in Qin Sheng and Xue Qingyan’s relationship. Qin Sheng had bumped into Ms. Cheong right on the first day he reported to Shangshan Ruoshui. Following that, he was acquainted with Xue Hao and later on, went on a trip to Nanjing with Xue Qingyan. Their relationship had grown more intimate through all that they went through.
However, what happened in Nanjing opened Qin Sheng’s eyes to Ms. Cheongsam to look at her in a new light, which was why he needed to figure out who exactly Ms. Cheongsam was, lest he lost his sense of proportion in his dealing with her down the road.
“I’ve known Xue Qingyan for many years. I was first acquainted with her father, so I got to meet her on many occasions and found ourselves to be rather like-minded and congenial. When I started Shangshan Ruoshui, she volunteered to join in,” Jiang Xianbang tried to explain. Jiang Xiang had established his social network resource through Shangshan Ruoshui. It was his intention of passing on this resource to Qin Sheng when he brought him into Shangshan Ruoshui. However, it depended on Qin Sheng if was able to win the trust and respect from the people when Jiang Xianbang was no longer around. This social network was after all Jiang Xianbang’s resource to begin with.
“Xue Qingyan’s background is indeed sophisticated. The family originated from Zhejiang. Her father was formally a high ranking political leader. After he retired, he stilled retained a reasonable amount of power. Her brother started his career in Zhejiang, progressively moved to Shanghai, when he started a new chapter in his life. By now, he is an influential figure who speaks with authority. You may do some research to find out more about him. Just search on his surname and there’ll be more than enough information you can find. It will benefit you greatly if you were to maintain a good relationship with her,” Jiang Xianbang continued. Although he did not go into details, basically his explanation was sufficiently clear.
Qin Sheng nodded his head thoughtfully and said, “No wonder… Looks like I have to hang on tightly to this backer.”
“You still owe me an explanation. How did you and Xue Qingyan become so close?” Jiang Xianbang asked curiously.
Qin Sheng did not make any attempt to hide, but answered truthfully, saying, “It’s quite complicated. I got acquainted with her on the first day I went to Shangshan Ruoshui. Subsequently, I got involved with her nephew, Xue Hao through some form of argument. Later on, I accompanied her Nanjing where I got into an accident and was injured and hospitalized for a week there.”
“Why didn’t you tell me about this incident?” said Jiang Xianbang as his face fell.
“Wouldn’t I worry you by telling you?” Qin Sheng said with a chuckle.
Jiang Xianbang said, meaningfully, “Don’t get into silly things like this ever again. Somethings can’t be rushed. Just go one step at a time, slowly, lest in you lose out in your haste.”
Qin Sheng understood what Jiang Xianbang meant. “Uncle Jiang, I get your message. What happened was merely an accident,” Qin Sheng said.
After chatting for a bit more, Qin Sheng went into the kitchen to check on the beautiful Qing’er to see if she had finished preparing dinner. In Qingsheng’s eyes, Qing’er was such a high-minded beauty, and letting her cook for him was misusing her talent.
In the kitchen, Qing’er was obviously the cook with two maids assisting her. Qingsheng saw that the table was already filled with delicacies Qing’er had finished preparing. “I didn’t expect you to be able to cook. I thought you were the kind who only drinks tea, plays the piano and listens to music. The kind of beautiful lady who wouldn’t dirty her hand preparing meals,” Qin Sheng teased.
With her hair bunned up and wearing an apron, Qing’er turned around to stare at Qin Sheng, saying, “Do you think I’m like you? All you do is eating without doing any work.”
“How am I a good-for-nothing, as you described? Do you want me to show you that I can whip up delicacies too?” Qin Sheng said with a laugh.
Qing’er retaliating saying, “No need, I’m afraid we would end up in the hospital if we eat what you cook.”
Qin Sheng burst out laughing and stopped bickering with her, but asked, “Do you need any help?”
“No need. You can help by disappearing from the kitchen because you’re disturbing me,” Qing’er snorted as she poured the contents of the pan onto a plate steadily and then checked on the pot of soup she was brewing.
Qin Sheng shrugged, thinking that his beauty must really find him irritating, so not wanting to an eyesore, he exited the kitchen.
After 10 over minutes passed, Qing’er, who by then had put off the apron, exited the kitchen and called out to Jiang Xianbang and Qin Sheng in the living room, saying, “Dinner’s ready!”
“Come on, let’s have a taste of our great chef, Qing’er’s cooking. Thanks for the hard work, let me reward you with a red packet later,” Jiang Xianbang said cheerily. He had toiled and labored his entire life and amassed such a great fortune. This was the time when he could sit back and enjoy the fruit of his labor. However, without any wife or children, who would he leave his wealth? Would he donate it to the country or charity organizations? Jiang Xianbang had not reached such a noble state yet, moreover he could not be sure whose pocket his wealth would end up in.
Thank goodness that the heavens had not completely taken away his future, but reserved Qing’er for him. In addition, he had Qin Sheng by his side now. At the age of 60, he finally attained the comfort and peace of mind.
In the classically furnished dining room, on the rosewood dining table sat six dishes and a large bowl of soup. Jiang Xianbang had specially instructed for Qing’er not to prepare too many dishes. There were only the three of them after all, and it would be wasteful if there were leftovers. Jiang Xianbang, who had been through the famine years, was especially thrifty with his meals, even though he was very generous on most other occasions and matters. Having been through tough times, Jiang Xianbang thought it was good enough to be filled rather than to have extravagant delicacies.
Right in front of Jiang Xianbang on the table was a cake which Qing’er had someone specially made for him, with a picture of a pot-bellied man holding 18 candles, and the wordings “Forever young, Uncle!” below the picture.
After Qin Sheng lit the candles, Qing’er urged Jiang Xianbang, saying, “Quickly make a wish, uncle!”
Jiang Xianbang rarely celebrated his birthday unless he happened to make it on time, or that someone specially made arrangements for a celebration. He was basically stationed in Shanghai, apart from some business travels. Whenever he was in Shanghai during his birthday, Qing’er would be keeping him company for his birthday. She would either cook a meal for him or go out for a nice meal. Jiang Xianbang was glad Qing’er was such a filial girl so he knew his doting did not go to waste.
Jiang Xianbang shut his eyes and smiled as he entered deep thoughts as Qin Sheng and Qing’er sang the birthday song. When they were done, Jiang Xianbang opened his eyes and blew at the candles.
Jiang Xianbang, in good moods, instructed the steward of the house to bring out a bottle of collector’s Xifeng wine, knowing Qin Sheng liked this wine. Qing’er did not try to stop him since it was Jiang Xianbang’s birthday, so she would allow for the exception.
When Qin Sheng and Jiang Xianbang started to drink, Jiang Xianbang started opening up about his emotions, saying, “I’ve no regrets now that I’ve reached this stage in life, having enjoyed wine, meat, and woman. Most importantly, I have the both of you by my side. I felt my life had been a worthwhile journey even if I were to die in the next second.”
“Stopping talking like that, uncle. I’m certain you would live to a hundred years old,” Qing’er said with displeasure.
Jiang Xianbang burst out laughing and said, “Indeed, live to a hundred years! I’m not done with my life yet. I want to live another 50 more years. Even if the god of death were to come now, I’m not going, haha…”
Dinner took an hour and a half to finish, during which Jiang Xianbang poured out his hearts, sometimes criticizing and other times making general comments about the people and things he encountered over the years. Qing Sheng and Qing’er acted as his audience, with one accompanying him in drinking the wine, and the other pouring the wine for him. They made sure the birthday boy was happy.
In the past when Qin Sheng first came to Shanghai to study, he had always felt uneasy interacting with Jiang Xianbang. However, after Qin Sheng went through with life these few years with different experiences, he began to feel that Jiang Xianbang and he were rather like-minded. He was beginning to understand the reason his grandfather had linked the two of them up, and the reason why his grandfather had enlightened a lowlife who made a fortune out of digging the ancient graves and given him advice and directions about his life.
If a person was good from the heart, goodness would be manifested in his actions. However, if a person’s heart is evil, it would be manifested in the form of evil deeds.
Jiang Xianbang, who had a large capacity for alcohol, seemed to wish to be drunk on this night. After he downed an entire bottle of white wine, he needed Qin Sheng and Qing’er to help him back into his bedroom to rest. Qing’er thought Qing Sheng had intended to stay on for the night, so she had prepared the guestroom beforehand.
Not expecting Qing Sheng to leave to go home, Qing’er offered to give him a lift but was politely refused by Qin Sheng.
At Shangshan Ruoshui, both Xu Lancheng and Ms. An had barely knocked off from work. By this time, there were no more customers in Shangshan Ruoshui. Xu Lancheng had called for Ms. An to come into his office. “Ms. An, I’m planning to add another position to the reception department, namely the position of deputy manager,” instead of beating around the bush, Xu Lancheng went straight to the point.
Taken by surprise, Ms. An responded by saying, “Oh, I guess it’s necessary to add another deputy manager to the reception department, so the other two deputy managers could have an additional people to share their heavy responsibilities. I think Lyu Yuan would be suitable to take up the position since he is the most experienced person. I supposed he would have become a deputy manager long ago if not for that incident.”
“I already have someone in mind, so there’s no need for you to recommend,” Xu Lancheng cut in before Ms. An was done with what she was saying.
Frowning, Ms. An queried, “Who is this candidate?”
“Qin Sheng,” Jiang Xianbang said directly.
Ms. An was instantly struck dumb by his answer. She was aware that Qin Sheng was not a simple character from her conversations with Xu Lancheng, but she would never expect Qin Sheng to be promoted to the position of a deputy manager within two months from the time he started working at Shangshan Ruoshui.
“Isn’t this too hasty?” Ms. An knew that once news spread, the entire security department would become chaotic. No one would be happy with such a decision, especially those who had been around for a long time and was much more experienced than Qin Sheng.
Xu Lancheng smiled helplessly and said, “Ms. An, some things are beyond my prerogative. Do you recall what I told you earlier? You’ll be making a big mistake if you still don’t understand.”
“I know Qin Sheng had come here to be gilded with gold, but…?” said Ms. An through gritted teeth.
Again, Xu Lancheng cut in and said, “Not buts here, first tell me if you think Qin Sheng has the capability to be a deputy manager.”
“He does have the capability,” Ms. An responded, unable to deny Qin Sheng’s capabilities. It had only been two months since Qin Sheng started work here, and he had already surpassed the old-timers who had been here for more than two years. Honestly, only Lyu Yuan and a few others could match up to his capabilities.
Xu Lancheng bit the bullet and said, “So be it. It’s set then. Meanwhile please keep this to yourself. I’ll make the announcement tomorrow morning.”
At the security department meeting the next morning, Xu Lancheng, who rarely attended the meeting was there this morning. Ms. An first addressed the department as per normal, then she proceeded to tell them that Manager Xu would be announcing a new arrangement in human resources.
At the moment, Qin Sheng, Lyu Yuan, Song Siyu and Tang Wan were standing side by side with each other, while Yu Fengzhi and Wang Haichao were standing in front with Ms. An and Xu Lancheng. Everyone was wondering what kind of new arrangement he was referring to and were waiting expectantly for Manager Xu. Apart from Xu Lancheng and Ms. An, Qin Sheng was the only other person present who knew what was going on.
“Do you know what this is about?” Song Xiyu whispered the question to Lyu Yuan. He thought Lyu Yuan and Ms. An had always been in close contact with each other, and Lyu Yuan might know some insider information.
However, Lyu Yuan was apparently clueless. “I’m not sure,” said Lyu Yuan, shaking his head.
Song Siyu looked to Qin Sheng and said, “Do you know, Qin Sheng?”
Qin Sheng, not wanting to be a hypocrite, whispered, “Yes, but Manager Xu will tell us all about it.”
At this juncture, Xu Lancheng walked up to the stage slowly and said, “Since the security department is a very important department, we have decided to add one more deputy manager to our department.”
By the time Xu Lancheng finished with this sentence, the entire floor had become chaotic. Even Yu Fengzhi and Wang Haizhao’s faces were ashen. How did they miss this? What was happening? They could only stare at Ms. An and Xu Lancheng with astonishment.
Following this, all the people were expecting to hear the names of the possible candidates. Standing nest to Qin Sheng, Song Siyu and Tang Wan were already congratulating Brother Lyu and Song Siyu even commented, “It has to be you, Brother Lyu.”
“Indeed, finally it’s your turn, Brother Lyu,” Tang Wan echoed.
Lyu Yuan tried to say some modest words, when in fact he thought he had to be the chosen, since there were no other people who were more suitable them him.
Xu Lancheng waited for the noises to die down and then continued, “After careful consideration by the company’s management, the newly elected deputy manager of the security department will be…”
Everyone in the room held his breath while anticipating the answer. All the more, the most likely candidate’s heart was pounding the fastest.
“Qin Sheng,” Xu Lancheng called out.
The entire audience was stunned. None of them had expected this to be the outcome…